The Baldwin Trail is one of our favorite hidden gems. For one thing, it’s tucked away in the Village of Oak Creek so you can enjoy a secluded hike. For the entire hour we hiked, we only saw one other group of hikers and a handful of mountain bikers.
A sweeping vista of Sedona’s red rocks that you can see near the end of the trail.
You’ll also see striking views of Cathedral Rock almost right from the get-go. At about 0.33 miles, you’ll descend and get some shade. But that’s short-lived. You’ll want to wear sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses – beginning aside, most of this trail offers no shade. At 0.36 miles, you’ll see a wooden trail sign for Crescent Moon. You can even hear Oak Creek babbling in the distance. Take this detour if you want to visit the must-see Crescent Moon Ranch. Head right to stay on the Baldwin Trail. We were pleasantly surprised to feel what we thought was sand underneath our feet and see towering Cathedral Rock ahead. At about 0.58 miles, you’ll see a sign for the Templeton Trail. Turn left to eventually reach the summit hike for Cathedral Rock. Be prepared for a tough hike if you take this detour. Head straight to stay on the Baldwin Trail.
A cactus flower blooms.
From here, you’ll enjoy Cathedral Rock views on your left and will be hiking nearby a dry creek bed. On your right, see a large red rock formation that’s dotted with greenery. At 1.07 miles, the Baldwin trail intersects with the Hiline Trail. Continue straight. We got a little off trail here. But just remember to head toward the red rock formation on your right. The trail wraps around it. Don’t miss the expansive views of the red rocks of the Village of Oak Creek at this point. They’re breathtaking and a gorgeous reminder of why we hike.
A close-up shot of Cathedral Rock.
You’ll reach a sign for Turkey Creek Trailhead at 2.14 miles. Stay left. Take in views of Thunder Mountain or Capitol Butte in the background as you finish up. Turn left at 2.31 miles to head back to the parking lot. When you reach your vehicle, you’ll have completed a loop trail that’s a little over 2 miles.
DIRECTIONS: From West Sedona, head south on AZ-179 and follow it into the Village of Oak Creek. Turn right onto Verde Valley School Road and follow it until you see a parking lot on your left. The last mile or so of this road is hilly and good gravel that you can drive in a low clearance vehicle. Go slow, and be prepared for a bumpy ride. The parking lot has bathrooms. You must purchase a $5 Red Rock Pass to park here, and display it on your dashboard. The trailhead begins across the street and to the left of the parking lot.